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Consultant Proposes Replacing Community Shelter with Mixed-Use Development

With relocation of affordable housing off the table for Minnie Howard, a committee of city and Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) leaders met Monday to look to other projects to see where co-location could be implemented.

The city has several major relocation needs over the next few years, including a need to relocate four fire stations to fit changing population figures. At the Joint City-ACPS Facilities Master Plan community meeting, however, the focus was on affordable housing and school locations.

One of the locations being considered was the Community Shelter and Substance Abuse Center at 2355 Mill Road near the Hoffman Town Center.

Kayla Anthony, a representative from consultant Brailsford & Dunlavey Inc., said that the location was built 30 years ago and still serves a community need, but is in need of some refitting.

“Our first idea for a test fit focused on the affordable housing crisis,” Anthony said. “Housing is identified as an urgent need in assessment and aligned with opportunities in this site.”

One potential plan would see housing and the shelter co-located on the same site, and Anthony credited Carpenter Shelter’s new facility as an inspiration for the test fit.

Another test fit for the site would involve relocating the community shelter somewhere else and using the spot for mixed-use development including housing and commercial space.

“This takes our idea a bit further,” said Anthony. “One of the things we learned is because it can accommodate up to 200 feet of building height… and the shelter could be relocated to a surplus site, we wanted to see how we could maximize the site. If we relocated the shelter to a site in the future, that site could accommodate up to 300,000 square feet of multi-family and commercial units.

The proposal could include up to 160 residential units on the site.

“There’s more that can be done with the site if the shelter is relocated to another place,” Anthony said.

A map of the proposed mixed-use development at the site included both residential and commercial uses at the site.

Anthony emphasized that the test fits for the site is not approved by the city or even fully fleshed out plans, but are options the city could consider down the road.

Photo via Google Maps

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